Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has passed the halfway mark of his five-year tenure in office. But, his first half of second innings as the country’s powerful executive head was not smooth-sailing. From the very beginning, he faced unintended glitches from within the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) formed with the unification of two large communist forces- the then CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre— in 2018. Since both the parties came from opposite philosophical schooling, the unified party is yet to develop common ideology and finish organisational integration.
The current four-month long intra-party conflict, which was settled the other day, had brought the party to brink of split. The nasty scenario largely emanated from deepening trust deficit, lack of inner-party democracy and more importantly, failure of fair power-sharing among the factional groups. The provocative statements and activities created deep fissures in the higher echelon of leadership. In the heat of blame game, PM’s nemeses accused him of running government and party arbitrarily, undermining its institutional norms and procedures. On the other hand, the establishment side hit them back, calling them spoilers and stooges hell-bent on upsetting Oli’s applecart.
When the top leaders, including co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, senior leaders Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhala Nath Khanal demanded that the PM must quit one of his two posts, the party’s rank and file shuddered in fear and frustration for such extremist demand could jeopardise the party unity and government’s stability. Given the history of communist movements, the hostile argy-bargy within the communist parties is not new and strange. But the NCP’s wrangling bears negative consequences for the government, nation and international left movement.
Amid the criticisms of party’s lackadaisical posture, its Standing Committee meeting on Friday sorted out major disagreements, giving a new lease of life to the party. It has formally settled the work division of two chairs. Prachanda from now onward would oversee party activities as its executive chairman while PM Oli would solely focus on the affairs of government. This win-win accord is expected to reduce their workload as well as increase their efficiency in running the party and government as per expectation of public.
For the time being, the NCP has sorted out its serious rift. It has been global trend that personal ego, crave for lucrative position and minor ideological deviation trigger intra-party conflict and contradiction. On many occasions, the friendly differences turn into hostile antagonism. Ironically, the rival leaders blame invisible enemy for the in-house chaos. Such a faulty approach precludes the leadership from seeing the crux of the problem. It is only with the greater transparency, coherent ideology, robust inner-party democracy and public accountability that the leadership can resolve their disputes no matter how formidable and challenging they are.